Special Report: Global Financial Crisis
NEW YORK, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Crude oil lost nearly 6
percent and closed below 40 U.S. dollars a barrel on Monday on signs that a
deepening recession is deteriorating fuel demand.
Light, sweet crude for February delivery fell 2.45
dollars to settle at 39.91 dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
February contract's slide came after a 1.7-percent rally on Friday. The January
contract, which expired last Friday, closed at 33.87 dollars a barrel after
dropping to as low as 32.40 dollars a barrel, level last seen in February 2004.
Economic slowdown continues to weigh on the
investors, as negative corporate profit reports sent U.S. stocks sliding on
Monday. Toyota Motor Corp. projected its first-ever operating loss since 1938
and the world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment Caterpillar
Inc. decided to cut executive pay by up to 50 percent in 2009 due to weakening
A record production deduction by OPEC last week seems
inadequate to lift the market sentiment. Many analysts believe that the dealers
remain skeptical on the oil cartel's compliance in the supply cut. OPEC
President Chakib Khelil told press on Sunday that OPEC was willing to further
cut production as much as was necessary to stabilize oil prices.
Oil prices are 72 percent down from the July high of
147.27 dollars a barrel as a global economic slowdown slashed world energy
In London, Brent crude for February delivery fell
2.55 dollars to settle at 41.55 dollars a barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.